Implementing In-School Design Curriculum
St. Thomas Aquinas
PlusUs consulted with St. Thomas on creativity in the classroom and the integration of their art curriculum. Upon our arrival, St. Thomas did not have an art period or art teacher.
As a part of our research, we conducted a study asking St. Thomas students to think critically about their curriculum and their futures. 22.6% of students expressed an interest in increasing their amount of exposure to art and design without being directly prompted to talk about the absence of art class in their school. When asked about what career choices they might make, 19.4% wished to pursue an art or design related field. As a result of this study, and in response to their lack of art curriculum, PlusUs developed the curriculum for an after-school art and design program, called the St. Thomas Aquinas Creative Studio.
Taught by designers and design thinkers on the PlusUs staff, the St. Thomas Aquinas Creative Studio featured a series of scaffolded short term projects designed to engage the critical thinking skills and creativity of students at different ages and levels.
As an extension of this program, PlusUs created a website to act as a visual archive of student’s experiences. It allowed us to share images and links from class lessons as well as solicit feedback from students, parents and administration. In addition, it gave students the opportunity to see what their friends were working on and provide them with feedback.
During St. Thomas’s subsequent ten year reaccreditation process, the Middle States Association deemed the Creative Studio among the school’s strongest assets.
Research and Concept Development